By Claire Atteia
September 11, 2020 | 5 minute read
Visiting Canberra on the weekend? Why not do the same as many Canberrans and grab a bike, strap on a helmet and go exploring, perhaps with a well-earned coffee or breakfast whilst you’re out. Many hotels have bikes for hire or you can pick one up from the automated bike rental machines around central Canberra or even take a tour. Let's ride!
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
Lake Burley Griffin
- length 28km
This is ‘the’ bike ride to do in Canberra. Lake Burley Griffin is a firm favourite with cyclists – over half a day, you’ll cycle around the Central, Eastern and Western basin loops of the lake. From the natural beauty of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve and National Arboretum to the striking National Gallery of Australia and Old Parliament House, you’ll see the very best of Canberra.
Start/finish: Kingston foreshore
Need breakfast or coffee? Try Yarralumla Gallery and Oaks Brasserie - Cottage 1, Weston Park Rd, 38 Espresso - 4/2 Trevillian Quay, Kingston, Teddy Pickers - 67 Constitution Ave, Campbell
Lake Ginninderra - length 7km
In the heart of Belconnen is Lake Ginninderra, just 15 minutes north of the city. For those after a scenic bike ride, which is suitable for all levels of fitness, this is the lake for you. Full of great picnicking spots and playgrounds, save a couple of dollars and pack a rug and a thermos of coffee for a pit-stop mid ride.
Start/finish: John Knight Memorial Park
Need breakfast or coffee? Black Pepper Café - 63/1 Beissel St, Belconnen
Lake Tuggeranong - length 6.7km
For those in the know, Lake Tuggeranong is a hidden gem. Located 20 minutes south of the city, this beautiful lake is a delight to cycle. Throughout the day, locals are out in force taking advantage of the waterside location and enjoying a spot of bird watching.
Start/finish: Tuggeranong Art Centre, Reed St, Greenway
Need breakfast or coffee? Mimi’s Pit Stop - Mortimer Lewis Dr, Greenway, Jindebah Café, 216-228 Cowlishaw St, Greenway
Get into the suburbs
If you want to head off the beaten track and get to know Canberra a little better, here are a few of my favourite bike rides.
Curtin > New Acton - length: 12km
A favourite from growing up in Curtin, this ride takes you on the bike path from Curtin along Yarra Glen and brings you out at Lady Denman Drive, where you pass by the horse pastures and Government House lookout. Continuing on, you soon join up to Scrivener Dam at the western edge of Lake Burley Griffin and then follow the path past the National Zoo and Aquarium, National Rock Garden and the outer reaches of the National Arboretum.
You continue lakeside, past the National Museum of Australia, right up until you reach the pedestrian bridge over Parkes Way and it’s a short downhill ride to a well-earned breakfast and coffee.
Start: Red Brick Espresso, Curtin
Finish: Mocan & Green Grout, NewActon
Yarralumla > National Library - length: 10km
Whilst not the most direct route, the detours make the ride well worth it. Starting at the Yarralumla shops, you have a short on-road cycle to Dunrossil Drive – which in autumn, in my opinion, is one of Canberra’s most beautiful roads. Before you reach Government House, you take a right and you are soon crossing the western rim of Lake Burley Griffin on a charming wooden bridge.
Following the lake, you ride around the back of the Royal Canberra Golf Club, and then emerge near Weston Park. Continuing on, you begin to see more familiar sights – the National Museum of Australia over the water, Lennox Gardens on your left and the back of the Hyatt Hotel on your right. Under Commonwealth Avenue bridge and the National Library is just a few minutes away.
Start: Farmers Daughter, Yarralumla
Finish: National Library of Australia, Parkes
National Museum of Australia > Lyneham - length: 7km
After you’ve checked out the latest exhibition at the National Museum, hop on your bike and it’s just a short pedal to Sullivans Creek and the Australian National University Acton campus. A few twists and turns later, you’ll emerge at Barry Drive and you’ll continue heading north. You’ll soon join up the bike path again as it winds through the suburbs of Turner and O’Connor. When you reach the Wattle St intersection, just hang a left, and that will take you towards the Lyneham shops and a well-deserved breakfast and coffee.
Start: National Museum of Australia
Finish: Tilley’s Devine Café Gallery, Lyneham
Mountain bike riding
Mountain bikers are well catered for in Canberra. If you are more inclined to getting off-road and into the bush, it’s time to hit these beloved trails.
Canberra Centenary Trail
Designed for both walkers and cyclists of moderate ability, the Canberra Centenary Trail is a 145km trail showcasing the urban and rural highlights of the ACT region. Divided into sections, you can join or leave the trail in many locations.
Stromlo Forest Park
Just 15 minutes from the city, Stromlo Forest Park is a mountain biking mecca, boasting more than 50km of custom designed cross-country trails.
All images Canberra Urban Adventures
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